In this Gartner webinar "Evolve Seller Skills to Connect With Today’s Buyers" they are the question

How do we meet customers where they are digitally?

Let's Give this some context.

The buying process was digital even before Covid, but this has been accelerated.  It's gartner's view that "the pandemic didn't change B2B buying and selling, it accelerated the trends"

Gartner say that there are 5 key B2B trends

1.  Buying groups are 6 to 10 people .... that said we are working with a supply chain software company who tell us their buying groups can be 100 people plus. 

2. Each person in the buyer group will consume at least 4.5 piece of content.

3. Buyers spend 15% of their time, trying to work out which pieces of the content are correct as they can so often conflict with each other.

4. 77% of buyers say they have a high level of purchase difficulty, in other words, buyers are confused.

5. The majority of buyers will remain remote.

Then gartner crank up the pressure on us sellers by saying, that on top of the fact that buyers will remain remote that buyers will only spend 17% of their time with sellers.

If you are on a short list of 3 or 5, that 17% will be shared with all sellers, making the amount of time available less.

How do we evolve seller skills to connect with today's buyers?

Let's take a step back here, we know the world has changed with digital but have revisited what the sellers competencies should be?  Gartner has said before that previous experience in sales is not a given that the person will be able to cope with the modern digital buying and selling process. 

Have you aligned your sales people's skills with the buying realities of today?  If there is a digital sales gap, how will you fill it?  Will you go down the route of "digital hope", where you hope that your sales team will figure it out, or will you hire a company that can provide your business with a digital strategy, process and methodology. 

Have you equiped your managers to support this, to lead and to reinforce these new skills and processes?

What are Gartner's 4 seller competencies?

1. Sense making - this will differentiate your sellers by helping buyers make purchasing decisions.

There are three types of salesperson

A. Giver - I can get you more information on that. This is also the type of salesperson that just shares corporate content from a third party app without thinking.  These people will be asking marketing to create more content.

B. Teller - Let me tell you what you need to know. 

Both the "giver" and "teller" isn't scalable. 

C. Sense maker - There is a lot of information let me help you make sense of it.  You will see people on social doing this by posting their own authentic generated content.  Just like this blog, I listed to the webinar and I'm writing this to enable you to make sense from it.  I guide prospects and customers to evidence, while at the same time I try and prioritize simplicity. 

Gartner say that "80% of customers who identified sense making behaviours, made a high quality no regret deal"

2. Data literacy - This is about using data in their day to day selling process, for example measuring the leading indicators for digital sellers. 

3. Digital dexterity - This is the skill and ambition to work digitally 

4. Virtual customer engagement (VCE) - This is about understanding asynchronous and synchronous communications with prospects and customers in a digital environment.  

What does this mean?  It means, how as a seller do I drive action, when I'm not there? 

In our social selling and influence course we will teach your teams how to be social and human on digital channels.  This isn't about posting and hoping or posting corporate content, nobody comes to social to read brochures.  This is about digital and human channels both engaging clients. 

How do we integrate digital and human?

Here at DLA Ignite we have done extensive research into what content works, but more importantly, what does not.  When I say "works" I mean content that will be want to be shared by your teams, that gets engagement and is seen by the people you want to influence.

So much time, budget and effort is spent on sharing content that employees don't want to share, gets no engagement (in other words nobody likes it) and it just adds to the noise. 

Our advice is to take a strategic approach to this, many people jump in and start talking about tools or what saying "let's share videos".  This is like buying the furniture before you have even built the house.

If your business needs help justifying this, talking with different execs or help building a business case, we can help with that. 

This is your future

Well this is the future for those of use who want to grow, evolve our customers and exceed our revenue and profit targets. 

So who's social selling?

In case you missed it, the Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch have banned cold calling and have moved all their people to social selling. This isn't some trendy tech company that might have decided to do this on a whim, this is a very conservative financial services company that has made a decision based on data.

But surely cold calling has a better ROI than social selling?  Not according to Merrill Lynch.

"They will also be encouraged to contact prospects over LinkedIn, which has a higher hit rate than cold calling"

The CRO (chief revenue officer), Richard Eltham of Namos Solutions, of one of clients posted a comment on LinkedIn about social selling. See here.

“Social selling is not an option now it is the way of the world and you either learn and execute it or fear getting left behind” 

Kevin Murray who is the Head of Sales at MacArtney Underwater Technology recently posted about his success with social selling here and wrote an article about the transformation that has happened in sales here.

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